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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Moscow Presses Pyongyang Over Nukes

In a sharp change of course, Russia on Thursday accused North Korea of being insufficiently forthcoming about its alleged nuclear weapons program, while Pyongyang's ambassador to Moscow defended its right to develop nuclear weapons.

The United States said earlier this month that North Korean officials acknowledged they had a nuclear weapons program during talks with visiting U.S. Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly in Pyongyang on Oct. 3-5. U.S. Undersecretary of State John Bolton then traveled to Russia to present officials with evidence of the alleged uranium enrichment program.

Moscow reacted with caution, saying it would like to independently check the information before making any definite conclusions. Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Losyukov said Moscow had received an explanation from the North Koreans but it was insufficient. "There is some ambiguity in the statements by North Korean representatives," he said. "In our view, such ambiguity is very dangerous because it leads to mutual suspicions and can negatively affect the situation on the Korean peninsula."

Pak Ui Chun, North Korea's Ambassador to Moscow, said Thursday that the U.S. claim that Pyongyang was pursuing nuclear weapons programs were unfounded, Interfax reported.